Jonesboro faces Sheridan on Homecoming

Jonesboro’s Rykar Acebo throws a pass during the second half of the Hurricane’s 31-20 victory over El Dorado last Friday. The Hurricane hosts Sheridan this evening.

JONESBORO — Coach Randy Coleman reflects on Jonesboro’s last meeting with Sheridan when asked if a letdown is a concern after last week’s victory over El Dorado.

While Jonesboro eventually put Sheridan away by scoring the last 21 points for a 52-27 victory, the Hurricane struggled with the Yellowjackets for more than a half. A last-minute touchdown gave Jonesboro a 24-21 lead at halftime.

“We’re not worried about a letdown for a couple of reasons, the first being last year when we went to Sheridan. They had three big plays for touchdowns and we were not pleasant at halftime,” Coleman said. “A lot of those guys are back. And then also, if you just watch them, Lakeside is a good team and they beat Lakeside 24-7 and they beat Jacksonville 42-7, so they’re very, very capable of coming in here and ruining Homecoming.”

Jonesboro (2-2, 1-0 conference) celebrates Homecoming this evening as Sheridan (2-2, 0-1) visits Cooksey-Johns Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

The Hurricane started 6A-East conference play last week by rallying to defeat El Dorado 31-20 in a meeting of top-five teams in Class 6A. Jonesboro scored the last 24 points as Rykar Acebo threw two touchdown passes and the Hurricane defense shut out the high-scoring Wildcats for the final 18 minutes.

“I think we’ve gotten better every week, doing some things a lot better. Obviously the second half last week was about as good as we’ve played in a while,” said Coleman, whose team is No. 4 in Class 6A in this week’s Arkansas Sports Media poll. “We need to try to get to a point where we’re playing four quarters of good football. We know what Sheridan is capable of, but we also have team goals of just playing more consistent football. I don’t think our guys will be lacking any focus.”

Acebo was 23-of-32 passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns against El Dorado, with no interceptions. Kavon Pointer and Jesse Washington caught eight and seven passes, respectively, for 114 and 77 yards.

Coleman said Acebo’s performance might have been the best by a Jonesboro quarterback during his tenure because of the decisions made under pressure.

“There’s times where you’re going to get hit. We don’t have enough (blockers) to protect and you’re going to get hit. You can either take a checkdown or you can try to get it downfield and take a hit,” Coleman said. “He threw the ball spot on and was taking shots. It was just impressive for him to stand in there and make throws as accurate as he made.”

Linebacker Andre Reed had four sacks and defensive lineman Bendarrion Webster had two to lead the defense. Reed finished with 14 tackles and safety John Paul Pickens had nine, plus an extra point block in the third quarter

Sheridan opened conference play with a 41-13 home loss to Searcy as the Lions’ Dede Johnson ran for 305 yards and six touchdowns on 24 carries. The loss stopped a two-game win streak for the Yellowjackets, who opened with a 41-0 loss at White Hall before beating Hot Springs Lakeside and Jacksonville.

Quarterback Konner Canterbury is Sheridan’s rushing leader with 349 yards and eight touchdowns.

“They’re very well-coached and the quarterback, he’s a really good player. I know he’s gone over the 100-yard rushing mark a couple of times and I want to say last week he was over 70 yards passing, so he can beat you with his legs and his arm,” Coleman said.

“Defensively they’re going to play some form of a zone. They’re going to try to keep everything in front of them. Their safeties play deep and are very disciplined.”